Maria's Awesome Family

Although a front-running victory in a sloppy renewal of the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) would prove to be the final win of Pretty Discreet’s racing career, she was about to commence a broodmare career that would bring her even greater acclaim. Last weekend, Awesome Maria became the latest grade I winner to extend from Pretty Discreet when winning the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I, video below).

The 23-year-old matron has produced three stakes winners, all of whom have at least placed in grade I company. Her Wild Again colt Pretty Wild won a pair of stakes and took second in the Futurity Stakes (gr. I). Even better was soon to come, and three years after foaling Pretty Wild, to Forestry (TrueNicks,SRO) she produced Discreet Cat (TrueNicks,SRO). Winner of his first six starts, Discreet Cat was, on his day, quite brilliant capturing the U.A.E Derby (gr. II) by six lengths, the Jerome Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) by 10¼ lengths, and the Cigar Mile (gr. I) by 3¼ lengths in track record-equaling time. Discreet Cat’s first crop are 2-year-olds of 2011. In 2007, Pretty Discreet, produced another stellar speedster in Discreetly Mine (TrueNicks,SRO) (a son of Mineshaft (TrueNicks,SRO)). Although his pedigree suggested he might run all day, Discreetly Mine cut back in distance after taking the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) early in his 3-year-old season, and added the Jersey Shore Stakes (gr. III), Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), and King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I). He’s just completed his first season at stud.

None of Pretty Discreet’s first three daughters were able to win, but they’ve more than made up for it as broodmares. The Boundary daughter Lady Discreet has produced stakes winner Chary. Lady Discreet’s sister, Pretty Boundary, is dam of two stakes horses, including stakes winner Concorde’s Edge. Pretty Discreet’s third stakes producer, Discreetly Awesome (by Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO)), has done even better with the filly Awesome Maria (TrueNicks A). A daughter of the late, lamented Maria’s Mon, Awesome Maria was among the best of her generation at 2 and 3, but has been positively stunning this year. At 2, four starts saw her break her maiden, win the Matron Stakes (gr. II), and take second in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I). In a season that didn’t start until last September, Awesome Maria, made another quartet of starts at 3, capturing the Riskaverse Stakes, and earning a second in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) and third in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. II). This year, Awesome Maria has been perfect in four starts, taking the Sabin Stakes (gr. III), Rampart Stakes (gr. III), Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), and at the weekend in a dominating performance, the Ogden Phipps. Awesome Maria is one of three stakes winners, and five stakes performers, by Maria’s Mon out of Deputy Minister line mares. Like Maria’s Mon’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Super Saver (TrueNicks,SRO), Awesome Maria has a heavily La Troienne-influenced pedigree, having at least five crosses of that mare, including three through Buckpasser (who is in at least 10 Maria’s Mon stakes winners, among them grade I winners Awesome Maria, Super Saver, Latent Heat, and Wait a While).

Another stallion who is no longer active, Silver Deputy, came up with a weekend grade I winner when his son Pool Play (TrueNicks B+) suddenly discovered latent dirt ability at the age of 6 to capture the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I, video below) and muddy the waters in the older male division. Pool Play is out of the winning Cox’s Ridge mare Zuri Ridge, a half sister to the outstanding turf mare Voodoo Dancer, whose victories included the Diana Handicap (gr. I) and Garden City Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. I). Bred on similar lines to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) victor Singletary (TrueNicks) (by Sultry Song (TrueNicks), a son of Cox’s Ridge, and from this same family). The family goes back to champion 2-year-old Filly Leallah, to the notable tap-root mare Oval. The branch which descends from Leallah’s granddam, Colosseum, has produced any number of notable performers, among them champion turf horse Manila, champion French 2-year-old Targowice, French Oaks winner Lacovia, Italian Derby winner White Muzzle, and major sires Miswaki and Southern Halo.

Happily there were also some good weekend winners for young stallions. In the Vanity Handicap (gr. I, video below), last season’s champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck (TrueNicks A) produced her patented late charge to win. She’s from the first crop of Pollard’s Vision (by Carson City) out of the Best of Luck (by Broad Brush) mare Lucky One. As we’ve noted before, Blind Luck is linebred to the outstanding mare Chris Evert through the similarly-bred Nijinsky Star (third dam of Pollard’s Vision) and Chief’s Crown (broodmare sire of Best of Luck).

Third crop sire Afleet Alex (TrueNicks,SRO) was represented by his fifteenth stakes winner and seventh graded winner when Bizzy Caroline (TrueNicks A++) won the Regret Stakes (gr. III, video below). Bizzy Caroline is one of two stakes winners that Afleet Alex has sired from only seven starters out of mares by Saint Ballado. Something very interesting is going on with Saint Ballado and the Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross that is found in Afleet Alex’s sire Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO). Northern Afleet himself sired grade II winner Saint Afleet out of a Saint Ballado mare, and Lemon Drop Kid (TrueNicks,SRO) (sire Kingmambo, another Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross, has grade II winner Charitable Man (TrueNicks) out of a mare by Saint Ballado).

Kitten's Joy (TrueNicks,SRO) is another third season sire, and has been on something of a tear this year. He has five 2011 stakes winners, and another five stakes-placed horses. The latest of these, Banned (TrueNicks A++), won the Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. III, video below). He is the fourth stakes winner by El Prado or a son out of a mare by Capote, and from only nine starters. Banned also has Northern Dancer top and bottom through Sadler’s Wells, and through Topsider (who is from the same Rough Shod II family as Sadler’s Wells).

Second year sire Rockport Harbor (TrueNicks,SRO) was represented by the Victoria Stakes-winning 2-year-old Banner Bill (TrueNicks A++), who’s out of a Summer Squall mare, so bred on a similar pattern to the successful Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO)/Storm Cat cross. In the same vein, Broken Vow (TrueNicks,SRO) (by Unbridled’s Song’s sire Unbridled and out of a mare by Nijinsky II, a genetic relative to Storm Bird, sire of Summer Squall and Storm Cat), was represented by a stakes winner when Lonesome Street (dam by Storm Cat) won the J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys and Girls Club Stakes. He’s also been represented by 2011 grade I winner Sassy Image out of a mare by Storm Cat’s son Hennessy.

Another mating that provided a twist on an established theme was the one which produced Street Game (TrueNicks A++), winner of the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. III). By Street Cry (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO), he is out of a mare by Thunder Puddles, a grandson of Prince John, who appears 3x4 in Street Game’s dam. Street Cry has already established an affinity for Prince John and his son Speak John, siring grade I winner Seventh Street and graded winner Street Magician (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by Meadowlake (like Thunder Puddles, from the Speak John sire line). Street Cry's pedigree features both Prince John and Halo (dam by Cosmic Bomb, a half brother to the dam of Prince John). He’s had at least eight stakes winners, six graded, with Prince John in the dam, and four with Halo in the dam, three graded, and one grade I.

We’ll also give a call to Successful Appeal (TrueNicks,SRO) who had weekend double with 3-year-olds Scotus and J P’s Gusto. Scotus (TrueNicks A) won the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. He is out of the Seattle Slew mare Devine, also granddam of the versatile graded stakes winner Grand Adventure. Out of a sister to Saratoga Six, Devine is a sister to the standout runner Lakeway. One of last year’s top 2-year-olds, J P’s Gusto (TrueNicks A++) got back on track after an early foray on the Triple Crown trail with a 6¾ lengths win in the $400,000 Red Legend Stakes over seven furlongs at Charles Town.

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